Floating all staff when census is zero


Simply looking for any thoughts or experiences in regards to smaller facilities that deal with a zero census at times. Does your facility float staff? Will they float all LD staff, leaving no staff on the L&D unit, with the intent to bring staff back if and when a patient arrives to ED needing triage or delivery.

Elvish, BSN, DNP, RN, NP

17 Articles; 5,259 Posts

Specializes in Community, OB, Nursery.

The local hospital (small-ish) keeps two RNs and a tech on the unit (who can open the L&D OR) at all times in case someone comes to the ED needing a crash section. If these folks float, it is to postpartum or the special care nursery and they don't take patients.

ETA - this may not be what you were looking for. The local hospital has a 4-bed L&D with 2 L&D OR/PACUs and a 15bed PP unit plus level II NICU. I'm not sure how small you define small.

Specializes in LDRP.

Most of our staff are trained in L&D, PP and nursery. We always keep at least one nurse in labor and one in triage (plus charge nurse who can take assignment if we have no other choice), even if there are no labor patients, and the others will either get sent to work in PP, nursery, NICU, told to stay home and be on call, or rarely, floated to our other campus's L&D/PP unit which is about 20 mins away. I've never seen anyone get floated to non OB related units. Even when we float to NICU we just kind of help out with non critical babies and don't take an actual assignment since we are not NICU trained.

If they are floated or put on call, and we get busy, we will take them back or call them in.

Specializes in Reproductive & Public Health. Has 10 years experience.

I work prn as an RN at a small hospital that does about 250 births a year. We only staff 2 RNs on the unit. If we have no patients, we will take turns floating. We NEVER leave the unit completely empty, just in case. We also have restrictions on what we can do- no contact precautions or ID cases, and no tasks that will leave us tied up indefinitely, like transporting a patient or something.

I have never really worked outside of women's health, so when I float, I really just do CNA type stuff or patient sitting.


50 Posts

Specializes in L&D. Has 4 years experience.

minimum staffing is 2 RN's, even when there are no patients.

when we float it's the same situation as for Cayenne06- just sitting with a 1:1 patient or doing vitals, or helping start IV's in the ED. I've only ever had to take a pt load once when i floated and it was the easiest pt's they had that night.

When in a small institution, though, I've been expected to help with peds patients IV starts and placing catheters/resuscitating and helping in ED when a peds comes in.